Eating Clean- Works For Me Wednesday


Three years ago I would have told you we ate healthier than most American families. I never bought sugar cereal, my kids ate their veggies, I had them get apples with their Happy Meals and we only bought Cheetos on special occasions.

Two years ago (-ish) I went to hang out with a few local bloggers who I hadn’t met before at a new restaurant I had been wanting to try out. What I didn’t know is that it was a farm to table restaurant. Heck. I didn’t even know what that meant. And when they started talking about grass fed meat and cage free chickens and raw milk I was lost (and a little scared).

I had no idea what road I would head down pulling on the thread of what I learned. I started purging my house of all things with HFCS. Then came baking my own bread. Next getting all our eggs from a house next to my church with a cooler out front and chickens running about. Then visiting a few local farms to discuss purchasing grass fed cows and free range chickens.

More and more our diet changed. We stopped buying cereal (CEREAL!), started canning and freezing and joined a CSA. We get a small percentage of our food from a grocery store. I buy chickens with HEADS on them and save their bones to make broth. I make my own yogurt, granola, vanilla, and peanut butter. It all fits right in with my lack of shaving during the winter…..

It is the new normal and really feels normal. But I realize it isn’t. My kids frequently remind me that it isn’t. And I hope I haven’t become one of those preachy people. I just feel good, my family is way healthier than we have ever been and I like being able to pronounce the ingredients when we eat.

Today I listened to Joel Salatin speak on the connection between food and God and family. It was amazing. And here are a few of my favorite quotes:

We’re eating things you can’t pronounce, you can’t make in your kitchen, that won’t rot. If it won’t rot, it won’t digest.

Most people are far more concerned about the quality of the gasoline in their car than the food they put in their body.

Everything is eating and being eaten. And those who think we can have life without death have cheapened life.

Want to get started eating “clean”? It isn’t as intimidating as I may have made it sound. I started really small. Really, really small and things have just grown from there. I still don’t drink raw milk, ferment food or eat organ meat (all things true real foodies do). I still eat out at normal restaurants, buy candy bars in the grocery store line, and occasionally grab that bag of Cheetos. I live by the 80/20 rule.

Anyway, I have the greatest resource to get you started. My friend Tricia over at Once a Month Mom (seriously “real food” or not, you should be reading her) has launched a year long program to help you “Get Real”. She is working with some of the best bloggers around to take you through baby steps to eat clean in 2012. Give it a shot!

How “clean” do you eat?

This post will be linked up to We Are That Family’s Works For Me Wednesday.


  1. We started our journey to real food living about 4 years ago. My oldest was just born, I was staying at home, and started learning more about what I was putting into my mouth {and would be putting into hers}. I never gave up cereals {I have a deep love of Cheerios}, but we did a lot of grass fed beef, organic veggies, etc.

    Then we moved to Texas. We had a crazy time of moving 1000 miles with less than 2 weeks notice, cramming our family into an apartment, finding new friends, a home, getting pregnant, moving again, husband starting a new job twice. In all that, I sort of lost my eating clean mind. Just now, over a year later, are we slowly moving back into what we had. I feel like I can start wrapping my mind back around the things I use to do and really work toward doing more. I haven’t been following Tricia’s series, so I’ll have to give that a try!

  2. Awesome post! It makes “clean eating” (we call it “traditional food” at our house) sound not so intimidating! Just if you’re interested, I keep beer liver in the freezer and often grate some into our ground beef, especially in strong-flavored dishes. It is a great way to start with organ meats, and it’s not scary or gross at all. :) My family doesn’t even notice! I hope a ton of people who read this are inspired to give real food a closer look! It’s transformed my health and the health of my kids!
    Danielle recently posted…Fantastic Soaked Whole Wheat BiscuitsMy Profile

    • the thing is I CAN taste it. Maybe I just need to persevere and get used to it?

      • Maybe you need to try beer liver instead of beef liver? :-D Sorry, I couldn’t help laughing over the typo. I don’t like beer OR liver myself, so beer liver sounds awful.
        ‘Becca recently posted…Staying On the Ball at WorkMy Profile

      • Ooh, I have no good solution for you! Maybe your family wouldn’t notice it… and you could suffer through it. :) You’re right, it doesn’t sound fun if you can taste it!
        Danielle recently posted…Fantastic Soaked Whole Wheat BiscuitsMy Profile

  3. Whoops, I meant beef liver, not beer liver!
    Danielle recently posted…Fantastic Soaked Whole Wheat BiscuitsMy Profile

  4. Love it! Thanks for sharing! As a new (ish) wife and not coming from a very traditional home I’m still trying to switch from feeding my hubby frozen hot pockets to actually cooking frozen chicken. I once bought a chicken with the gibblets still in and well… yeah that freaked me out, so heads are still a bit (read bit as ‘way’) too much for me so far, but I’m definitely interested in refining little things here and there to get us on a better track!

  5. abba12 says:

    We’ve recently started this journey too, the biggest issue is that in Australia finding such food is even harder. Our local farm fresh organic fruit and veg store had to close, so I’m back to supermarket veggies until I find an alternative. Farmers markets all run on sunday mornings, we simply can’t go to them. Meat is a bit easier to manage, I just need to convince hubby to buy a decent deep freezer to fit it.

    One thing I found though is dehydrating. I always thought it was just for making rasins and banana chips, but after buying one I discovered a whole world of possibilities. You can dehydrate anything, carrot, corn, onion, even spinach. You rehydrate it in boiling water for a half hour (for veggies) and it is almost exactly as it came out, most of it is good enough to be served on it’s own as a side dish, and mixed in food you’ll never notice. It stores in FAR less room than frozen food (three bunches of silverbeet, I think you call it chard, the stems ended up in one pint jar and the greens ended up powdered in a half pint jar. Half an hour before dinner I can pour some carrot and some onion and some broccoli into a pot of boiling water, and the veggies for dinner are done and ready, no nightly chopping.

    It holds it’s nutritional value. I’m told veggies are like a salt water soaked towel. Squeeze it (juice it) and you’ll have salty water and an almost dry towel, put it in the sun (dehydrate it) and you’ll have evaporated water and a salty towel. The salt obviously is the nutrients, at least most of them, a few are lost in either method.

  6. Hi! I JUST started reading The once a month mom blog a few weeks ago and have used many of her meals for our weekly menu! We started our journey to a healthier way of life a few years ago. This month I read Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. Now I’m downing wheatgrass shots and drinking hot lemon water in the morning. There are so many little things I’ve added to my daily regimen that have made a huge difference! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  7. Thank you so much for the shout out for Get Real. And also for being a friend that influenced the desire to know more about the food I eat and to start evaluating my own choices. I expect you to help on this journey!
    Tricia (Once A Month Mom) recently posted…Rosemary Pot Roast {Slow Cooker}My Profile

  8. It definitely is a gradual journey. I’m lucky in that the standard American diet never seemed quite normal to me because my mom likes to make bread and yogurt, serve lots of fresh vegetables, etc. But I did eat a lot of packaged foods and fast foods when I was in college and just after.

    What made the biggest difference for us was giving up meat for Lent almost 10 years ago. At that point we had started shopping at the health food co-op and buying a CSA farm share each summer, but we still were eating a lot of crap. Giving up meat made us think much more about what we were eating in general and how we were making our choices.

    We’ve eaten very little meat since then. For us it’s the easiest way to avoid toxins in conventional meat, easier and cheaper than buying “clean” meat. But we now buy the “cleanest” eggs and dairy we can, go organic on a lot of plant foods, buy a narrower range of cereals (no puffs, no non-organic corn; mostly granola and Grapenuts), use more natural sweeteners instead of sugar or corn syrup, and eat a lot more whole grains. Our digestion is a lot smoother than it used to be, skin and hair and nails are healthier, and we get contagious illnesses less often. Our 7-year-old raised on this diet has been sick 3 times in his entire life, all minor and <48 hours!
    ‘Becca recently posted…Staying On the Ball at WorkMy Profile

  9. It’s the so called “greenly legal”. Pathetic but it’s true that most of the minerals that usually our body needs can be found on green leafy veggies. Don’t you ever think that it’s much more cheap and even nutritious compared to those meat that we most like? This one comes with a great benefits but we just take them for granted.
    Myrna recently posted…onion juice for hair regrowthMy Profile

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